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Rates increase on empty commercial property

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by Gill Montia

The Government is warning owners of empty commercial property that vandalism aimed at avoiding paying increased rates will not be tolerated.

From April, local authorities will be raising the charge levied on empty commercial property from 50% to 100% of the normal business rate.

The move aims to raise up to £1 billion for local government each year.

Local government minister, John Healey, has written to councils advising them of the powers they already have in place to prevent deliberate dereliction.

He has intimated that while anti-avoidance legislation has not been drafted into the empty rates bill, it may yet be added.

Mr Healey explains: “These reforms are good for businesses, the environment and most of all, good for our communities … commercial property demand remains high and there can be no excuse for deliberate dereliction.”

Empty rates will come into effect on 1st April, after which industrial property owners will pay 100% rates if a property has been empty for six months.

Full rates will be due on other types of commercial property after three months’ vacancy.

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News posted: March 27, 2008

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